Prevalence and validity of self-reported smoking in Indigenous and non-Indigenous young adults in the Australian Northern Territory

Mark Pearce, K Mann, Gurmeet Singh, Belinda Davison, Susan Sayers

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    Abstract

    Background: In this study, we used data from Australia's Northern Territory to assess differences in self-reported smoking prevalence between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. We also used urinary cotinine data to assess the validity of using self-reported smoking data in these populations.

    Methods: The Aboriginal Birth Cohort (ABC) is a prospective study of 686 Aboriginal babies born in Darwin 1987-90. The Top End Cohort (TEC) is a study of non-Indigenous adolescents, all born in Darwin 1987-91. In both studies, participants aged between 16 and 21 years, were asked whether they smoked. Urinary cotinine measurements were made from samples taken at the same visits.

    Results: Self-reported smoking prevalence was 68% in the ABC and 14% in the TEC. Among the self-reported non-smokers, the median cotinine levels were higher in the ABC (33 ng/ml) than in the TEC (5 ng/ml), with greater percentages of reported non-smokers in the under 50 ng/ml group in the TEC than in the ABC.

    Conclusions: Prevalence of smoking was much higher in the ABC than in the TEC. The higher cotinine levels in ABC non-smokers may reflect an underestimated prevalence, but is also likely to reflect higher levels of passive smoking. A broader approach encompassing social, cultural and language factors with increased attention to smoking socialisation factors is required.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number861
    Pages (from-to)1-7
    Number of pages7
    JournalBMC Public Health
    Volume14
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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